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The History Portal

The Historians' History of the World
The Historians' History of the World


History (derived from Ancient Greek ἱστορία (historía) 'inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation') is the study and the documentation of the past. The time period of event before the invention of writing systems is considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term comprising past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of these events. Historians seek knowledge of the past using historical sources such as written documents, oral accounts, art and material artifacts, and ecological markers. History is not complete and still has debatable mysteries.

History is also an academic discipline which uses narrative to describe, examine, question, and analyze past events, and investigate their patterns of cause and effect. Historians often debate which narrative best explains an event, as well as the significance of different causes and effects. Historians also debate the nature of history as an end in itself, as well as its usefulness to give perspective on the problems of the present.

Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends. History differs from myth in that it is supported by verifiable evidence. However, ancient cultural influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. History is often taught as a part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.

Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian, is often considered the "father of history"(as he was one of the first historians) in the Western tradition, although he has also been criticized as the "father of lies". Along with his contemporary Thucydides, he helped form the foundations for the modern study of past events and societies. Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals, was reputed to date from as early as 722 BC, although only 2nd-century BC texts have survived. (Full article...)

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West front of Lincoln Cathedral, which was begun under Alexander

Alexander of Lincoln (died February 1148) was a medieval English Bishop of Lincoln, a member of an important administrative and ecclesiastical family. He was the nephew of Roger of Salisbury, a Bishop of Salisbury and Chancellor of England under King Henry I, and he was also related to Nigel, Bishop of Ely. Educated at Laon, Alexander served in his uncle's diocese as an archdeacon in the early 1120s. Unlike his relatives, he held no office in the government before his appointment as Bishop of Lincoln in 1123. Alexander became a frequent visitor to King Henry's court after his appointment to the episcopate, often witnessing royal documents, and he served as a royal justice in Lincolnshire.

Although Alexander was known for his ostentatious and luxurious lifestyle, he founded a number of religious houses in his diocese and was an active builder and literary patron. He also attended church councils and reorganised his diocese by increasing the number of archdeaconries and setting up prebends to support his cathedral clergy. Under Henry's successor, King Stephen, Alexander was caught up in the fall from favour of his family, and was imprisoned together with his uncle Roger in 1139. He subsequently briefly supported Stephen's rival, Matilda, but by the late 1140s Alexander was once again working with Stephen. He spent much of the late 1140s at the papal court in Rome, but died in England in early 1148. During his episcopate he began the rebuilding of his cathedral, which had been destroyed by fire. Alexander was the patron of medieval chroniclers Henry of Huntingdon and Geoffrey of Monmouth, and also served as an ecclesiastical patron of the medieval hermit Christina of Markyate and Gilbert of Sempringham, founder of the Gilbertines. (Full article...)
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Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time. I must continue to bear testimony to truth even if I am forsaken by all. Mine may today be a voice in the wilderness, but it will be heard when all other voices are silenced, if it is the voice of Truth.

— Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader

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